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Customer service and workplace expert Randi Busse explained how first impression calls can make all the difference in closing a sale or reserving a run.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — More business, more revenue, more opportunity, more profit. Those catchwords would appeal to any business owner, especially one trying to get reservation calls for limousine service.
“As owners, we want to book all the business we can, and deliver on what we promise,” said keynote speaker Randi Busse, founder and President of Workforce Development Group, Inc. in Amityville, N.Y. The coaching and training organization advises clients on how to improve customer service, retain clients, and boost revenue.
“Customers expect exactly what’s there. But do we always give them exactly what we promise on the website? We try to. We want to retain our customers and grow our business.”
To get to all those “mores,” Busse first explained why the five steps are needed in the first place.
Warnings About Customers
The key to attracting new customers and retaining repeat ones is to know how to engage them, and how to handle their complaints and concerns, Busse told an audience of trade show attendees on Nov. 9. Not all customers will be happy. Most won’t tell you, but they’ll tell others, especially in the era of instant, mobile, online communication, social media and forums.
“Word of mouse is more powerful than word of mouth,” Busse said. “The smartphone is a weapon that customers can use against you if they are not happy with their experience. If a customer is calling to complain, they want to make it right. Get back to the customer relationship.”
Lead and Build Trust
Customers often don’t fully know what they need, so a business should know how to lead them, Busse said. “They’re calling you as an expert. You can educate them so you can make the right decision. When a customer calls and wants price, do you really think they want price?”
A business needs to solve customer problems, she said. “They need to get from point A to point B. Can anyone in this room solve that problem? Price is important, but if all you do is give customers the price, how are they going to make the right decision?”
Giving away price at first turns customers into price shoppers instead of problem solvers, Busse said. “There’s a time and place to say price and it’s not the very beginning. They’re calling because they have a need, and if you don’t book the business, your competitor will get it.
If you’re not the cheapest, you shouldn’t talk about price, she advised. No limousine company wants to be the cheapest. “If all your customer wants is price, and that’s all you talk about, then you won’t get business.”
No Phoney Baloney
The way you answer the phone, what you say, and how you say it determines if you land a customer or customer says, “I’ll call you back,” Busse said. “The best time for a customer to say yes is on the initial phone call.”
Employees taking customer calls for limousine service should be trained to ask questions and carry on a conversation, since phone selling is all about forming a relationship. Employees should alternate questions such as “How many passengers? Where are you going? When? How far?” with comments such as, “I can help you with that. Thank you for calling.”
Many savvy consumers habitually contact three companies or vendors so they feel like they’re doing their homework and not getting ripped off. “They want to feel like they have a connection to you,” Busse said.